Smartphones come in all shapes and sizes...

We keep having this same conversation — but "smaller" phones have got to stop skimping on specs

Size matters. That's all there is to it.

We've seen quite a bit of talk about phones and the sizes they come in, particularly as those sizes have increased over the years. We all have our opinions on how our phones seem to be blurring (or outright obliterating) the line between phones and tablets. And more recently there's been quite a bit of discussion on phone sizes with reports of a Motorola Nexus device, code-named Shamu, and if a Nexus phablet is a good idea.

Just... a little... further...

Now, while I wouldn't necessarily want a phone that size with my small hands, I could see buying Shamu as a developer so as to only need one device yet code for both phone and tablet. It's big enough to test tablet layouts and small enough (and with all the extra hardware) of a phone. I can also see it working for a good number of regular Android users because of a friend of mine. He bought a Galaxy Mega because he had wanted a tablet for Netflix and Clash of Clans, but only wanted to carry around one device. Granted, he's actually a fan of TouchWiz, so I'm not sure Shamu would've been able to win him over on spec alone, but a high-end phone with a high-res 5.9-inch screen and quick updates from Google would've certainly caught his eye.

It is certainly not the device most casual users would be running out to buy (what Nexus has been?), but to say Shamu has no place in the market is slightly off the mark. It's a Nexus for Note users, and it's a Nexus that will be more focused on developers and power-users. Also, consider that Galaxy Mega my friend bought. It carried a relatively low resolution of 720p stretched to fit a larger screen. The processor was adequate at best, and the on-board storage was lacking for a device that looks like it was born for watching movies offline on planes, trains, and automobiles. It was built like a beast, but inside it was just "good enough." The same holds true for most phablets outside the Galaxy Note line. Many would be more receptive of a larger phone if it had the specs to match, but right now when you get a super-sized phone, the only thing super-sized is the body.

Smaller isn't necessarily better, though

This approach isn't limited to big phones; small phones are getting the shaft, too.

Smaller hands deserve something better than 'just good enough.'

I hear more grousing about small phones with inferior specs than about behemoths that aren't packing like they could be. When I first took an interest in Android, for the longest time I honestly believed Mini was code in this industry for old, inferior, and aimed squarely at women, because we women are supposedly in love with miniature things. Granted, these phones are designed to be cheaper, smaller versions of the flagships they're derived from. However, as flagships grow bigger and bigger, there is a growing faction of users that want a phone they can easily use one-handed that is more than just "good enough."

Among Moto X users, a fair few plan on upgrading once the rumored successor is announced, but a faction of users might not be. They don't want to go bigger. A 4.7-inch phone is enough for them — and based on most of the polls I've seen in the last few months, it's enough for a lot of people. They just want a phone that size with specs that aren't already outdated when they buy it. They want a phone that can stand up to a few new versions of Android before it starts to slow down or just become woefully out of date. In this space Moto (and in some countries Sony) is the only game in town.

I understand that the flagships will creep up in size every year to accommodate larger batteries and more powerful guts to run the latest version of Android (and all of the bloatware and skins that the manufacturers slather on top of it). I understand that bigger is better for manufacturers because you can sell it for more, but don't resign the small-handed and the small phone-minded users out there. We're prepared to pay for a modestly-sized phone with specs that can be more closely compared to the big boys.

Something for everyone

The manufacturers need to listen.

We all have an idea of what size our Cinderella phone is. My Moto X is just about perfect for me because I am just barely struggling to reach the toggle between my notifications and my quick settings. I can still type one-handed with my dainty little hands. Yes, a little more real estate would be nice for reading in bed or watching videos, but this phone fits my hand, fits my pockets, and fits my lifestyle. It's too small for LeBron and his massive basketball-palming hands, or my Clash of Clans-addicted friend, but for this 5-foot-2 princess, it's just right.

And no matter what size phone we're after, we should be able to seek out a device with the specs to match our usage. Just as we can find quality tablets in many sizes, quality phones should come to us, great or small.

 

Reader comments

Shamu and the Minis — a musing on device sizes

103 Comments

Was reluctant to go back down to a five inch screen with the M8 coming from a 1520. Always thought that was too big and instantly fell in love with it. Took adjustment losing that inch. G3 was perfect but issues. Z3 5.2 is acceptable but I love bigger screen. Reading just easier. Touch reacts better. Never go back under 5

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Excellent post! At 5-inches, the Nexus 5 is the largest I would "like" to go - heck, I said the same thing with my previous 4.75" E4GT.

Edit: reply directed to the blog post, not aitt's above :).

I have a Nexus 4 and with a couple pairs of shorts I have, the top of the phone almost sticks out of my pocket, so that's about as big as I'm willing to go.

You're wearing chick pants huh, I have to carry my nexus 5 in my back pocket. The woes of looking like you bought designer pants when you really shopped in the women's section of Walmart, ugh.

I said SHORTS, not pants :P These are not the kind of shorts I usually wear, except to the store and back. But I don't want to have to change shorts when I go somewhere just because this big f-king whale of a phone won't fit in the ones I have on.

My G3 fits just fine in all my pants and shorts, and I'm a small dude at 5'6" ... what kind of girly shorts you wearing?!? Lol

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I dunno about him, but I'm wearing size 7 Levi's and I couldn't fit a Nexus 7 in here unless I cut it into pieces.

But, yeah, these are girl jeans. Curse the textile industry for not letting girls have pockets big enough for a flagship phone...

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In areas of the world where fashion is in the 21st century, no one wears "pants" (trousers) or shorts that would fit a nexus 7. Baggy cloths went out of fashion 10 years ago. I can't fit my nexus 5 in my pocket while sat down
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Agreed, Moto X is perfect size. If it had a better camera and better screen it would be the best phone ever made. (and wireless charging)

Nexus 4 - CM10.1.3

Basically, all of this. I'm actually fine with the screen, but BOTH cameras need work. I'm planning to get the X+1 only because the front facing camera of the X has a pervasive hardware issue that keeps me replacing the phone every couple months. The rest of the phone is so good, though, that I keep coming back for more... and size is a big part of that.

You don't need bigger phones for bigger batteries and more powerful guts.

What you need is for OEMs to stop being lazy and put some thought into actual engineering. If Apple, Sony and Motorola can make reasonably sized phones with up to date specs, there's no reason for the others not to.

And this bulls**t about people always wanting bigger phones because the 'market' shows it to be so, is a crap excuse. Many people are buying these bigger phones because we've collectively run out of choices.

If I want a high end Android device, my choices are limited to mostly 5inch and above screens.

Unfortunately, looks like Apple will be the only company that excerices some damn restraint when building phones and offering choices come this fall...

How ironic is that....

UMMMM...you might want to fix the typo you have, I think you meant to say "bigger' instead of the other word.

Agreed as well. Large phones are great... as an option, but saying that "the market" has demanded them is utterly absurd. New phones largely fall into 2 categories - Ever bigger, or mid-size with 2 year old specs. If someone wants the latest specs (to gain some degree of longevity in terms of OS support), they have no choice but to accept the larger size.

This issue will probably work itself out fairly soon. Until now, going from 4 to 5 inches still resulted in an overall usable device. Even if someone might prefer something smaller, 5 inches is still livable, so manufacturers could still just make one size (for a flagship). Beyond 5 inches, however, usability starts to be impacted and the number of people who will simply refuse to buy will start adding up.

Now I'm not saying big phones shouldn't exist, there's certainly use cases where they're adventitious. But there needs to be consideration for those of us who don't have that use case, but who still want the latest specs.

Personally, I can see no reason to upgrade from my Nexus 5, especially if my only option was something even bigger - there's no point buying a phone with the same specs just to keep the same screen size, and I won't buy something with a larger screen, so I'm effectively out of the market due to a lack of a viable choice. What *would* interest me, is something a hair smaller with better battery life, and whatever other advances come about (sensors, better camera, etc.). Unless something along these lines comes out, I simply have no need or desire to replace what I have.

The best phone I've ever used in terms of size and feel in the hand was the Nexus 4. The N5 is a better phone, but I wish it were just a tiny bit smaller.

I agree with you, the Nexus 4 was a thing of beauty.
I wish that Motorola would do like Apple and keep the design and size of the new Moto X the same as the original, and only update the specs. That would be the perfect phone IMO.
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I went from an iPhone 5 back to android. Had an HTC One for two weeks and traded it for an LG G2. I honestly find the G2 easier to use than the One.

While holding phones in stores, the X felt perfect in hand. Perfect one handed operation. I ended up picking the G2 because of the screen quality and camera. I currently find this size perfect, but feel a Moto X could be perfect to me too. But somewhere in that 4.7-5.2 range. Which granted, is a big range.

I we think from a iPhone 5 4 inches to 5.1 gs5 and I don't think it's too big I could go a little bigger to 5.5 for sure

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Well not only the screen size matters. I mean I love the HTC One but it's too tall for me. I know, awesome booms sound speakers but way too big when you can get a G3 roughly the same size with half inch more

The Moto-X is the right size for me as well, and I'm 6'1" with averagely large hands. One-handed use is so...handy! And even at 4.7", some shifting in the hand is necessary to navigate all the real estate. I am disappointed to see that the next version of the Moto-X is going to be 5.2" I wouldn't mind the 1080p screen, although 720p is still better than the eye can differentiate. I wouldn't mind the better camera. The more powerful processor is good too, I suppose, except how will this and the larger screen affect battery life?
I think that the Moto-X hit a sweet spot in terms of size, specs and features. Long live the Moto-X

Same here, I'm using a slightly larger Nexus 5 for other reasons but would actually prefer something the size of the Moto X and I really really hope Moto doesn't forget about smaller form factor phones, since they're the only OEM that seems willing to fill that maket segment with a competitive device. 5'11" here with long fingers, high priority on one handed use tho, Nexus 5 works for me but just barely.

Yep, you said it all. This comment is unnecessary. ☺

Android: It will make you a sexual tyrannosaurs, just like me.

+100!! The Moto-X definably hit the sweet spot for me too. I have a Nexus 7 (2013) for daily browsing....

Hoot

Posted via Android Central App on my Nexus 7 (2013)

5.7"+ is the ideal range for me. OEMs should link the term mini strictly to the screen size I believe there will still be plenty of room to make money. If this next nexus device is certain I'll be to happy to go back to nexus devices and leave Samsung along although this Note 3 will be my last regardless.. just waiting to "JUMP" to my next device once one comes that I want

~My $0.02~

My N5 is a fine size. A bit larger screen can be squeezed in. Not sure if I'd go any bigger phone. I like the bigger size over the X, but boy that Moto is perfect to hold. The Nexus is good... But no Moto.

Posted from my Nexus 5 via Android Central App

I'm really torn on this. I absolutely love Nexus devices (currently using a Nexus 4) but I'm not a fan of huge phones at all. The Note and phones like it don't interest me. So I'm not sure what I'm going to do about my next phone purchase; I'd like it to be the Nexus 6 but I just don't know at this point.

I suppose it's too much to hope that Google releases a "normal" sized Nexus 6...

To be honest, my Nexus 5 is as big as I want to go. I can see where bigger might be better in some cases.

Posted via My Nexus 5.

I love big phones. I thought the Note 2 was it, but after a few weeks with it, I wanted more. I now *think* 6" is what I want, but I'm not sure. I had the Flex for about a week (6") and it was just awesome. Excited for the Note 4 and Flex 2!

Very Good Read Ara, you have done well for your 1st article. and i do agree with you. We do need high end specs packed into a smaller form. I Think LG Can make that happen, Or even HTC.
I myself have the M8 an LOVE EVERY Inch of it!! My wife loves her Note 3, but thats just too big for me.

Thanks! And it doesn't surprise me - I see more women with Notes than men. If it's too big to fit in their pockets anyway they might as well go for broke, lol.

That said, long live the Moto X!

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My S4 was about right.
I have a Lg G3 now, and while it's not a phablet, it is big.
If it were 5" with a HD screen and the rest of the guts the same I would have still bought it.
Basically, if they had made an LG G3 in the G2 package with removable microSD and battery with the updated processor, I would have bought it.
They don't need to go bigger with the flagship phones.

You know that the 5.5" screen was the original Phablet category size?

I think with the way the sizes are going that phablet needs to be 6" and up. THe Note series is now just the high end on the phone category.

My 5 inch nexus serves me well, but I'm interested in something in the 5.5 range, I would even be willing to try shamu at 5.9 inches. being able to use a phone completely with one hand isn't a high priority for me at least I don't think it is. I think the 5 inch screen is at about the limits of completely one handed operation, I have relatively large hands. but most of the time I'm using a phone using a second hand isn't a problem for me and I probably have two hands on my phone more often than just one.

Still I agree with the original point of the article, Mini phones around 4.7 inch shouldn't be relegated to middle of the road specs, 4.7 is about the limit for my fiance, she currently has a moto X. But I don't want her next upgrade to be disappointing in specs and longevity just because she doesn't want a large screen like me.

Making phablets that don't have great specs is even more confusing though. phablets are pretty much designed for power users, It's no wonder that the Note line sells so well in that market, any big screen device without top of the line specs is doomed for failure like that horrible Mega device mentioned

Excellent article, I'm not sure how anyone could dispute we just need more GOOD options in a smaller form factor. MOST OEM seem adamant about ignoring this market tho... Ironically I think Apple might help spur some change here, if they launch two mostly equally spec'd flagship devices at different sizes maybe Android OEM will wanna be able to compete evenly on both fronts...

Right now the assumption just seems to be the majority of people want a bigger phone but I firmly believe Apple retains some market share based on device size alone. It'll be interesting to see their sales breakdown between two different sizes phones, tho the initial madness over a really large iPhone will probably boost sales of that model on hype alone for a good solid year.

My last phone upgrade was awesome because I went from the 4.3" screen HTC Rezound to the 4.7" Moto X and the phone itself was the exact same height and width. Plus the X was a few mm thinner than the HTC. Amazing! I was dreading having to get a huge phone like the GS4 or HTC One, but so glad Moto came through in the end. Here's hoping they don't ruin it by making a huge successor. C'mon guys, it's gotta level off somewhere.

Same exact experience here, went from a Rezound to the X. I was looking at the Droid Maxx for the battery, but the X fit me so much better, even though I'm a bigger person than Ara. I absolutely don't begrudge others who want/need larger devices to have that option, so long as those of us who still want a pocketable phone to be able to keep up technologically. Fortunately, the X for me is still as smooth and responsive as any phone I've seen, even a year after it was introduced.

4.8 No doubt. My dream phone would be an HTC One with physical keys (I hate black bars) running stock and 4.8" 1080p LCD3. The GS3 had it right, but they still could've trimmed the bezels. I had a Moyo x but 4.7" with on screen keys was not too great for me. I want the full screen.

I never use 2 hands with my phone so smaller is definitely better. My GS4 is too big. Pretty jealous of my wife's Moto X.

I agree when they make devices like the s4 mini or htc one mini why are the specs lower? while i prefer 5-5.7" phones as i love my note 3 i much enjoy the pocketability of something like the moto x. But why does a company feel the need to compromise on specs for smaller screens release the exact same phone at different sizes people will still buy both depending on their preference that would be truly having choice because then there is no compromise.

Because high specs drink up more juices that a smaller phone's battery can't adequately provide? Just a thought.

well they managed to shove a 3000mah battery in the G2 with a fairly small form factor i think they would be able to do something with a 2300mah battery (same as nexus5) in the frame of the s4 mini. even if it was underclocked a bit i can understand but they skimp on the Ram and its an outdated chip not just underclocked. But they actively make those devices lower end to push people towards the flagship.

i have large hands and don't think i would get anything smaller than the Nexus 5. However, I still don't want anything over 5.5. I need to be able to put the phone in my pocket and be able to easily pull it out without worrying about dropping it.

This poll would be interesting to make every year, the preferred screen size will most likely grow year after year.

4.8-5.1 is my new sweet spot... assuming design like the Moto X or G2 where it's mostly screen, less bezels. Following that logic, I actually would not mind a 5.5" phone. I keep saying that, but without living with it day to day, not sure I could accurately assess that. It would push me away from my N7, and I'd kinda want that

Sony are doing it right with there compact versions that z3 compact if rumours are right looks like a good choice.

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I'm using a moto x but when I was choosing in the phone store I was so torn I had the Motorola x in one hand and the z2 compact in the other. I really liked Sony's compact great specs and not bad screen and camera. I think my next device will be the z3c.

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I think one of the reasons that phones are getting bigger and bigger is that they *need* to be -- in order to be faster and more powerful, as expectations of phones are getting more demanding. You can't expect a 4" phone to do all the things that a bigger phone can without having capable battery, CPU, RAM to perform adequately. Besides, people who say that a 5" phone is the perfect size for them most likely didn't say so 2 years ago.

Not really, the largest component in a phone is by far the battery (followed by the screen), and the larger the screen the more battery you need. SoC and RAM and all that take a fraction of the space and are of a constant size, if anything they get smaller year to year. Moto and LG have squeezed rather large batteries into comparatively small phones in the past (G2, any Droid Maxx)...

That's where engineering comes in. Look at laptops, for instance. A modern laptop is much more capable than a 5 year old laptop, but it is not larger (in fact, it's probably thinner than the old laptop). Same goes for any number of other consumer electronics. The iPad Air is another good example. Faster, better specs, but the same height and width, and thinner than previous iterations.

Instead, most Android manufacturers have taken the lazy way out, doing what the auto industry has been doing for decades now. Each new generation gets larger than the last, just so they can advertise "bigger".

That's tablets and laptops. There are "rooms" to "squeeze", I'd suspect. The iPhones are getting bigger and bigger, right? Is the iOS phone department lazier than the laptop/tablet department?

Umm, the iPhone usually gets thinner, it's gotten bigger all of one time? The components that go into tablets are basically the same, just with much bigger batteries and screens. Laptops are another story, but laptop internals actually shrink due to natural processes, newer chips are smaller and integrate more functionality that used to require extra chips... Phones are much the same way. They aren't getting bigger out of engineering necessity it's either all driven by demand or marketing execs with no clue.

The next iPhone is significantly bigger. I guess now Tim Cook has no clue as well? I know it's also b/c the market demands bigger screens, but it's also for breathing room. I know chips are getting smaller. For laptops and desktops there are room for them to get smaller. For a phone, how much smaller can they get before these components become the size of dusts?

They're making two models tho, so clearly they don't think the vast majority wants a phablet.

"For laptops and desktops there are room for them to get smaller. For a phone, how much smaller can they get before these components become the size of dusts?"

You lost me there... First, we're nowhere near particle sized components. Second, they don't get smaller because manufacturers want smaller devices, things like SoC size ultimately make little difference to overall size. Screen and battery still take up the most volume by far.

However, components get smaller because that's how you build a faster and more efficient piece of silicon. Every few years the Intels, GF, and TSMCs of the world move to a smaller manufacturing process because that's what allows Intel, ARM, Qualcomm etc to put more transistors on a chip to make it faster and/or integrate more auxiliary chips to make it more efficient.

In the process you often end up with a cooler running part too unless you really packed it in and/or decided to build a physically larger part despite using a smaller process. That whole behaviour will continue regardless of device size, at least until they hit a wall and can't use a smaller manufacturing process reliably, think they used to say that'd be at 16nm but they keep finding ways.

My point is that it's increasingly more challenging to make things smaller (and in the interim more powerful and w/ bigger capacity) when the hardware are already small to begin with. Laptops and tablets have the room and luxury of "squeezing" chips, etc. that much smaller devices can't.

It will be interesting to see if the iPhone "phablets" will have more cutting edge specs than its smaller counterparts.

I do hope that Google will go ahead with its 5.9" phablet Nexus 6, but I also hope that it will retain its Nexus 5 line with improved specs -- call it Nexus 5-2014 or something.

And my point is that your logic about how things end up smaller and how laptops/tablets have more room to do so (I'm guessing you mean headroom because they start larger?) is completely flawed. I'm not trying to be contrarian or anything, you just don't seem to understand how a SoC or flash memory or what have you is manufactured.

Overall chip size is pretty constant and when they do go smaller it's because going smaller (as part of the natural fabrication progress of making silicon smaller) actually HELPS makes something faster and more efficient, parts don't get smaller in spite of pressing performance and power needs, they get smaller BECAUSE of it.

The real bottom line, and where i think this discussion stems from (too lazy scroll up), is flagship phones ARE NOT larger because engineers determined larger was better for performance or efficiency reasons, they get larger because either the market demands it or marketing departments think it does, period.

Note that I'm referring mainly to phones/tablets and consumer devices where thermal constraints aren't a big deal (and become less of a big deal as you go smaller) and OEM are using really similar components regardless of device size. The ONLY benefit to a larger phone is a larger battery.

Obviously if we were talking about different classes of devices with vastly different performance envelopes it might be another story, but a gaming laptop or even a desktop is mainly significantly larger (compared to a thin laptop or an office desktop) cause they dissipate more heat, not cause "OMG we have so much more space for silicon!"...

Nothing in the 4.0-4.4" range? You write a post about the different size devices, then completely ignore the size of the Xperia Z1 Compact at 4.3"?

Haha :-) awesome little device and they have all the same internals as the big brother. I can see some OEMS going Sony's way. Can u imagine the Note 4, And Then A Note 4 Compact with the same internals . :-)

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Sorry, I was trying to keep the choices small so the poll wouldn't be too big. I also totally spaced on the Z3 compact, which would be awesome for me if it was just a little bigger.

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Does anyone not notice when your phone is huge. That you always end up dropping them trying to use them one handed, I suppose that's what you have to get use to when you have been using a moto x size device. I bought the note 3 and kept dropping it. I must admit I did end up with awesome juggling skills Hahaha. So went back to my moto x. My perfect size is 4.7 to 5.

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I end up cradling larger phones with my pinky under the bottom edge of the phone (which gets uncomfortable but works very well for one hand use), I find a smaller phone I can just palm and reach everywhere... Sort of the reverse of mouse palm grip vs claw grip if you're a PC gamer.

I'm pretty sure most people just give up one handed use entirely tho, I see it all the time.

I can manage it with the Nexus 5, tho long term I'm sure it's not healthy the way I keep having to contort my pinky for support and my thumb/wrist to reach the notification shade. I'm happy with it tho, not in a hurry to upgrade, but when I do I really really hope there's a modern Moto X equivalent... Moto Maker would be nice too!

I have big hands, so a larger phone works for me.

However, I also miss powerful phones with dedicated keyboards... So I might be an anomaly... I'd gotten real good at manipulating Palms tiny keyboard with my big thumbs.

My wife wants to move away from the iPhone, but she wants something that fits into wife size pockets (tiny). You simply cannot buy a 4-4.5" flagship (Android) device. This is sad.

My ideal screensize may well be even below 4,5".

I have my Nexus 7 tablet at home so my cell is really only in use when I'm "mobile". Sometimes I find an old Galaxy Ace and everytime I'm amazed by it's weight and perfect pocket-size dimensions.

Gimme a 4" device with (at least) Nexus 4 specs and G2 like bezels and I'm happy.

I definitely agree with this, I'll admit I used to prefer the phablet, the bigger the screen the better, but now in the days of 7-8" tablets that have performance matching phones I always have my tablet on me in my purse, tegra note and as of yesterday the shield tablet, so I really don't need a large phone anymore, something in the 4.3-4.5" range would be perfect, but I still want it to be a top of the line phone when I get it, just a compact top of the line phone.

As much as Samsung likes to make a billion different phones to see what "sticks", you would think they would have tried this by now. The Galaxy Alpha could have been a great device to test the waters, but they watered down the specs. If it fails, some idiot in upper management will probably use it as evidence that people don't like smaller phones.

It's telling that at this point in the day, with over 1,200 responses, 70% want a phone that's 5.1" or smaller. And yet all of the latest flagships are larger than that.

Please let the Moto X+1 be good.

Ya know now that I'm out of contract with my GS3 I played with the Moto X and found it hard to believe the screen is 4.7".. and that's because the GS3 is nearly the same but much wider.. the Moto feels small. BUT I have to say it's much snappier than the S3 though demo units aren't loaded with apps like my phone. Regardless the MotoX feels more like an iPhone 5S than an mid size screen Android in the hand.. For me I think 4.7-5" is ideal.. and we all know Moto has some of the best cell radios out there too.

The moto X screen size is perfect, my work gave me an HTC m8, wich is a sweet device, but it's freaking HUGE. I'm 6'4'' and have large hands, but I cannot use it single highhandedly, it's just crazy big.

There is no substitute for screen real estate! I have a G2 & think it's too small. Movies, games, reading, all are better with a larger screen. The manufacturers making smaller top spec devices is a stop gap measure at best. GOOGLE needs to pay attention to the trend toward larger screen devices. By & large, the Android OS hasn't really changed much in the last 4+ years & was designed for screens in the 3-4 inch range. Google really should be working on their next update to be more ergonomic for large devices & one handed use. User inputs should be redesigned with a focus toward the lower half of the screen. A notification shade accessed by swiping up for the bottom, for example. Browser address bar & control buttons at the bottom. Until Google steps up & does a total OS redesign that is ergonomically friendly for modern devices, the debate over screen size will continue.

I hope the Note 4 goes up a bit in size 5.9" would be great. I cannot see going back to a smaller (5" +/-) phone even though a lot of them are great.

I thought that a 5.5" would be too big, but I went to a Verizon store the other day and held the G3 and thought to myself, maybe 5.5" is doable? It was surprisingly comfortable to hold and didn't seem too big at all. And I do like the bigger screen.

Having said that, I still think that 4.8 - 5.1 is the sweet spot for me. Loving my M8.

It would be nice to see a Nexus 6 phablet and another nexus, called the nexus one that is slightly smaller with the same specs.

5" screen is good, as long as it's made like the gs4. No bigger than the 3, just a bigger screen, smaller bezel.

But I agree, a 4.5-4.7" device with the same specs as the flagship would be very nice and a nice seller. More direct competition to the iPhone too. Apple has proven, you can sell millions of phones with a smaller screen.

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I'm currently using a Nexus 4 and like the size of it as I can still use it one handed most of the time and have had no issues with fitting it in any pockets. It's good to hear that I'm not the only one not interested in "oversized" phones but I'm also not a fan of sacrificing specs. I think a 4.8 - 5.1" screen can be put into a manageable device.

I have had every smartphone that at&t has put out since the Samsung Captivate. My perfect size phone would have to be the Moto X. When the Galaxy Note first came out, I loved that phone for about a month. My last big phone I had was the HTC One m8, and that phone is too big IMO. I will stick with the Moto X until I find one that is better, but not bigger.

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I'm 6'4 with above average sized hands... And love the size of my Moto X. I could see possibly going up to a 5" screen depending on bezels, etc. I want something with decent specs and real estate that will fit in my pocket. This article hit it right on the head. 4.7 is now a "mini" with sub-par specs. It would be nice to see a moderate size alternative with only a smaller screen/case. I don't see this as too much to ask. I have a tablet for my larger screen needs.
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Shame on you Android Central, you went a whole article about phone sizes, and inferior specs on a smaller screen, and didn't even mention anything about the z1compact.

Sony is the regressed stepchild of OEM in the US. I really thought they might get a Nexus decide win at some point... Looks like it's either Moto and/or HTC's turn again tho.

I have a note 2. Could never do much smaller. Maybe a g3, but that's as small as is usable for me. And no, I'm not a giant or anything, 5'11 guy of average build

My Moto X is the perfect size for me. I bought the X after owning a Galaxy s4 for several months to get away from touchwhiz. I have to say I didn't mind the 5 inch screen, but I much prefer the Moto X's 4.7 inches.

I have also been really interested in the OnePlus One, but it's just too big for me. I love a lot of the features it has though.
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Im currently using a Samsung Galaxy Mega which has an absolutely massive display. To be honest a screen size between 5.2 to 5.7 inches would be perfect.

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My Note 3 is perfect... little smaller or a smidgen bigger would be fine. No Mega for me. I don't mind carrying a 8.4 tablet. (Tab S!!!! Yeah baby)

I went from a Nexus4 to a Moto X and felt the difference in size but I honestly didn't mind between those phones as they were both perfect for me.
Now I own an M8 and as amazing as this phone is I want to go back it's just too big. If the HTC One Mini 2 had M8 specs it would be perfect.

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People always talk about screen size but I think that is really the wrong way of thinking about it. I think what is more important is overall phone dimensions. I currently have a Nexus 5 and with average size hands for a make that is 6 feet tall and wears normal fitting pants I find it too big. The overall dimensions are 5.42" x 2.72. What i would really want is dimensions of like 5" x 2.6" with as big of a screen that can fit in those dimensions.

The real problem is bezel size. If companies could get the bezel size down screen could be bigger while still having a nice size.

Take for example the Nexus 5 which is 5.42" x 2.72 and has a 5" screen. The screen itself is only 4.32" x 2.43". The top and bottom bezel add over a full inch to the length of the phone and 1/3" to the width. If they could get the bezel size down we would have the best of both worlds. Smaller phones and big screens.